Pariya pips impressive Lahiri for title

Anirban Lahiri stood on the greenside and watched Pariya Junhasavasdikul hole a pressure-packed five-foot par putt at the last hole to win the Selangor Masters here on Sunday. 

The one-shot win ended a frustrating three-year winless run for Pariya and it also meant that Lahiri, already a three-time winner on Asian Tour, would have to wait a little more to win outside India. 

The 29-year-old Thai completed a wire-to-wire triumph following a one-under-par 70 at the Seri Selangor Golf Club to edge Lahiri, who challenged with a 68 in the approximately USD 400,000 event. 

Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun, who held the lead up till the 15th hole, settled for third place after dropping a double bogey and bogey on 16 and 17 to finish alongside another Thai, Namchok Tantipokhakul, who stormed up the leaderboard with a 65.  Abhinav Lohan, the best Indian on first day, further slipped in final round. He shot 76 and ended in a tie for 39th at six-over while C Muniyappa (76) finished 49th at 11-over and Abhijit Chadha (72) was tied 58th at 12-over. 

Lahiri was almost philosophical and said, “I guess I have to wait a little longer for that win outside of India. I’m really happy with the way I played. It was good to be in this position last week as well although last Sunday was a different story. I learned from that. I stayed patient, kept my focus. I made a few mistakes out there but my temperament was much better out there than in the past.”   

On his rival, he added, “Good for Pariya. I’m happy that he’s won. He’s been struggling the last couple of years. He’s a good friend. Frankly if I wanted someone to win it apart from myself, it would be him.”

On his own putt on the18th, Lahiri added, “On 18, I was not 100 per cent sure of the line. I thought it was pretty much straight, a double breaker. When I hit it, I thought I holed it. Maybe it ran out of speed and died left. These things are meant to be. It wasn’t today. I was happy with how I carried myself.”

Lahiri admitted he lost momentum on front nine on the sixth and seventh. He hit fairway on six and didn’t make birdie, and then made bogey on seven from the fairway.

He said, “That was momentum lost. I thought if I could turn in three or four-under, that would have given me the advantage over the leader group.” He also three-putted the 15th and it cost him. He added, “I’m going to go back to India and play in a couple of weeks. I’m going to play as much as I can as I’m playing well. We’ll be busy after September.”

But he sounded out a positive note, “I’ve been putting good with the short putter given that I missed a couple today (Sunday). But I holed a lot of long putts than I have with the belly. Feeling a lot more comfortable with this under pressure, so you’ll find out what I’ll have in September.”

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